A new season begins!

There have been a lot of new happenings in the world of the Cliff Mine Archaeology Project. In the coming days and weeks we will be sharing some of these happenings with you, the readers, as we continue to study and learn about the Cliff Mine and the early mining history of Michigan’s Copper Country.

This past week marked the beginning of our second fieldwork season at Cliff. Undergraduate and graduate students from Michigan Tech and elsewhere are again taking part in an archaeological field methods course through Michigan Tech’s Department of Social Sciences with their classroom being the Cliff site. Mapping and documenting the site is again a priority, with the townsite of Clifton the target of our digital mapping equipment.

For me personally, excavations at the Cliff’s stamp mill are the goal. The Cliff’s mill was one of the largest of the early mills in the Copper Country, and its continued use over a 50 year period means there could be an excellent opportunity to uncover technical changes in crushing and washing of mine rock over time. The stamp mills and their product (tons and tons of sand) had an enormous impact on the landscape and environment of the Keweenaw. A better understanding of their technical processes can only help current generations understand how to interpret these cultural features in the future.

Posts this season will therefore be focused on the stamp mill, continued mapping, and the experiences of the students doing the field work 5 days a week. I’ll also be adding information about upcoming public talks, tours, and some of the research on Cliff that took place over the past year. For instance I’ll be presenting on our work in a few weeks time at the Society for Industrial Archaeology’s 2011 Conference in Seattle, WA (June 2-5).


Please keep following our progress here at the Cliff Mine Archaeology Project Blog.

And come out to visit us while we work. We’ve got a great bunch of enthusiastic team members itching to share with you what they’ve learned.


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About Sean Gohman

Currently a PhD Degree seeking student in the Michigan Tech University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

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